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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Notes from Scotty D

I met Scott in kindergarten, I'm pretty sure. He was just always there, always kind, always smiling, usually laughing. Such a smart guy, friendly to everyone, and so gentle. And good-looking, have mercy.

thanks for the pic, interwebz!

When I was 19 I moved to the Chicago area and before I left Scott gave me a copy of Stephen R. Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I was so touched, not only that he would give it to me but also because he took the time to write some notes to me in the back of the book, which I still have. When it was Scott’s birthday (recently) I remembered that a while ago I told him that I live in the same city as (the late) Covey, and I thanked him for his kind words. Scott asked me to remind him what he had written, but I don’t think I got back to him. So I thought to document here what he wrote, as I continue to be moved by the gesture.

Here’s what he wrote (with a blue pen) in the back pages of the book:

***Growing Up***

When we were young, we thought the world could give us everything; we weren’t afraid of being ourselves and we knew who we were. We stood together because we didn’t know there was any other way to stand. We never questioned our motives or our friends. We thought our parents were heroes, and we loved spending Friday nights in the family room watching TV: Family Ties, The Cosby Show, The Wonder Years. And they were wonder years, for we lived on dreams and the hope they never failed to inspire. We ate our three meals a day and went to bed by nine. The best times of the week were those Saturday night slumber parties or the co-ed birthday parties.

All fights between friends were forgotten within a week and caused no permanent damage. Before bed, our favorite thing to do was to listen to daddy’s bedtime stories. School was actually liked at times; after all, grades didn’t matter so much and we got naptimes and cookies and reading after lunch and “free time.” And free time was always things like kickball and capture the flag, where you never had to dress up and it didn’t matter how much you might sweat. We used to dress up for book reports, and pull props from paper bags, like in show & tell. We got graded on things like handwriting and art. We had spelling tests every Friday. Our moms called out the words on Thursday night, while fixing dinner. It was O.K. to hug our teachers. The notes we passed in class always had a box to check or a secret code.

We smiled a lot every day, and cried about little things that went away within a matter of weeks at the most, because they were either petty or easily resolved or we didn’t understand them yet. We played recreational sports where fun was never dependent on winning. We never counted calories. The ice cream man could bring the whole neighborhood running. We never got embarrassed when our parents came to tuck us in at night, complete with hugs & kisses. We got our homework done in no time and spent the afternoons running in the sunshine. We played at each other’s houses, unless it was to go to the skating rink or park, where the swings and the merry-go-rounds fit just right. We told our mothers all our worries and somehow she could always solve them. We never thought we looked bad in a photograph. Freckles were cute. Bad hair days were unheard of. We never worried about getting old too fast. Instead we wished we could group up and be like the “big kids.”

Then one day we grew up, and we were the big kids. Suddenly, dreams were left by the roadside and stepped on by those we thought we trusted (and sometimes stepped on those that trusted us). School became something important, where we had to prove ourselves with letters on a piece of light green paper. And money entered into our everyday vocabularies, as we wrestled over matter of allowance.
We forgot how to have fun by ourselves or how to party innocently. Our hearts were broken and the wounds never healed. Our friends changed before our very eyes, and there was nothing we could do. We learned hard lessons about life and love and fear of a world not as wonderful as we used to think.

Illusions fell.

We learned that our parents weren’t perfect. We said and did things we’d grow to regret. Then we began to wish we could go back to the easier days, where we could be happy without doubting the sincerity of the feeling. But now, at least we still have each other to lean on. That’s one thing that never changes. At least we still like the sunshine and movies and can still cry at Christmas. And love still rules our hearts, as it forever will.
                                                                                                                                -Rhett Iseman

·         “I always knew I’d look back on the times I cried and laugh, but I never thought I’d look back on the times I laughed and cry.” – Unknown

·         “It’s not how much money you have, or how expensive your car is that makes you a wealthy person; because, if you have your health, and true friends and a loving, genuine family, then that makes you the richest person in the world…” – Peter Caprino ([Scott’s] grandpa)

And then he wrote a personal note to me. Isn’t that great?

Scott, thanks for your friendship. And thanks for your insight to write something that meant a lot to read at age 19, and means just as much but with different meaning at age 30-something. 

1 comment:

Janelle said...

Scott has always been a bit of a night to me. I ran out of gas on Fairmount Ave and, wouldn't you know, Scott happened to there to pick me up. I remember him smelling so good, being so kind, and remind him every chance I get. It's the little things. He had it mastered!